UI/UX Designs for 2016

Trends in app and web design with our head of design and branding, the elusive Holly Weinrauch

UI/UX (user experience/user interface) design is a huge part of app and software development. Even if an app has great features, it won’t work well unless it’s designed with humans in mind.

I sat down with our design lead Holly Weinrauch to try and figure out what direction UI/UX is headed in 2016 and beyond.

What trends do you see in design currently?
The change with UX and UI is very very slow, especially recently. Things like hamburger menus and card layouts have been the same for the last couple of years.

“Flat UI” has been a popular trend. What is Flat UI?
Flat UI is basically not skeuomorphic, so buttons don’t have to look like buttons anymore. People know what these things mean. We’re used to skeuomorphic designs from the 90’s, a button looks like a button, because of computers and phones, we know that it’s a button now, it doesn’t actually have to look like a button. As far as UX and UI, that has transferred into button design and also illustration, instead of things looking realistic, it’s more of an interpretation.

Flat UI

Flat UI Ping Pong

Flat UI is also easier for people without design experience to do, it’s just a button, just a square, instead of having a gradient and outline, and stuff like that, so it’s easier for other people who aren’t designers to use.

Do you think cross-platform design patterns will keep growing in popularity?
Oh yeah definitely, people have their gripes between android and iPhone right now, but it’s almost exactly the same except for a few little things. So on android you can press back whenever you want to, on iPhone you can’t do that and you’re kind of just stuck in this thing that you accidentally did, or maybe you went to a page you don’t want to be on anymore, you can’t go back, IOS usually has a bit more motion design, so things will move in weird ways where on android it’s very linear, like you swipe it and it goes, on iPhone you’ll swipe it and it will make a weird motion.

What are your thoughts on Google’s Material Design?
It’s wonderful. I feel like they made these guidelines for people to use, and they’re very explicit if you look at them, it will tell you like “use this sort of card here with this type of motion with a back button, and people who have adapted that just f*ck it up. They’re messing with it in the wrong way, Google spent a lot of time making sure you could recognize certain things, like a card would do these certain things, and this icon would mean this, and people change them around and it causes a lot of confusion.


Material Design Examples

Do you think Material Design will be the more influential style, versus Apple’s UI?
Oh yeah definitely. People have already been saying that apple is killing UX/UI design. I distinctly remember when I transitioned from android to iPhone, I was really upset that things were super small. This is a problem that a lot of people have is that their icons and search bars are really hard to tap, and so older people who don’t see quite as well but they’re not impaired have to go change their settings to have the text way too big and it breaks everything, UX/UI, everything.

Do you think single page web sites will continue to be popular?
I think we’ve gotten to the point where people don’t like clicking anymore, if I have to go to a site, and the whole site is horizontal and I have to keep clicking a next button, I’ll go away from it because I don’t like clicking. I think scrolling is a lot easier for mobile and desktop.


1 Page Web Design

What are some ways designers are integrating mobile and web design simultaneously?
Hidden menus is a good example of that. It’s not a menu that’s taking up a whole quarter of the screen, it’s just a tiny little icon that does an off canvas nav or a full screen thing that you have to exit out of. I think that works nicely on mobile and desktop.

What about fonts?
Big typography is becoming very popular. Sans-serifs, both bold and thin styles are definitely the trend. (To demonstrate this trend, we’re a big fan of Google Fonts’Lato)

Any trends in color schemes?
Lately it’s been a lot of super minimal with a white background and then a pop-color, we might see that invert, a dark color instead of white. The minimal design is really really popular so I don’t think that’s going anywhere.

It seems that app and web design are less dynamic than we may have thought. While some change is evident, cross-platform synchronous design and the understanding that users have of current designs prevent major changes or overhauls from being desirable. For now, flat UI and material design seem expected to dominate our apps and websites. We’re certainly not complaining.